Ship design expertise

Insights magazine

Decarbonisation by design

Cover image: Jenna Plank,
British Antarctic Survey

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Editorial Team

  • Senior Manager PR & Communications
  • , Senior Content Marketing Manager

Digital edition

  • , Senior Manager Web and Digital Solutions

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This year, Kongsberg Maritime will mark two very special milestones in the company’s long and proud history.

Firstly, it’s 50 years since our original ship design teams first produced their innovative designs. We are issuing this special magazine to capture the fascinating story of how our team of ship designers pioneered vessel designs in the early 1970s and to see how, five decades on, they continue to produce some of the most advanced, environmentally efficient ships in operation today.

Our ship design portfolio is extensive, with designs for all market segments. As we reach our 50th year, we’re delighted to report that we will also be delivering our 1,000th ship design. In the same way as the first UT 704 platform supply vessel ventured out into the North Sea back in 1974 as a pioneer of its time, our latest state-of-the art wind farm service operation vessels, the UT 5519 DE, will again be pioneering operations in the energy markets offshore.

As a global technology company, we have an extensive range of innovative and mission critical products and systems, installed on more than 33,000 ships. Having our own ship design capability adds a different dimension to what we can offer our customers. We can fully integrate our equipment within our design and consider a ‘whole ship’ approach, working with our customers to understand their operational requirements.

There are two parts to our ship design story. The early 1970s, at the dawn of the offshore oil and gas industry, saw the very first vessels designed specifically for the harsh operating conditions of the North Sea. The ‘UT-Design’ range soon became the benchmark design for the industry and has remained at the forefront of the offshore industry ever since. 

In other markets, covering cargo, passenger and fishing fleets, we have delivered around 200 ships from our ‘NVC’ family of designs. There are some impressive milestones in this backstory, with innovative ships such as car carriers and high-speed RoPax ferries, as well as an extensive range of vessels for the fisheries and aquaculture market.

As our planet faces unprecedented challenges, I am proud that the vessels we design today are among the cleanest, most efficient in operation. Some of the most advanced are for oceanographic polar research ships, which are playing a vital role in understanding and predicting how climate change will impact all of our futures. 

We have always embraced new technology. In close collaboration with ship owners and shipyards we have, over the years, been able to push the boundaries of technology, by leading the way with new features such as hybrid propulsion, fuel-saving bow designs and the ability to operate emission-free. 

Today, the pace of change is much quicker than it was 50 years ago. There is a drive to decarbonise the shipping industry and there’s so much more that can be done. 

Digital technologies play a big part in reducing emissions from ships and they also simplify and automate more aspects of ship operation going forward. This development will continue to influence how ships are designed, as will the changing availability of alternative fuels. Most of our latest designs are configured to adapt throughout the life of the ship. 

It’s an exciting time to develop ships for the future. We pride ourselves on the collaborative approach we take to working with our customers and equally feel great pleasure when we see Kongsberg Maritime-designed ships in operation around the world.

Lisa Edvardsen Haugan, President – ©Kongsberg Maritime
Lisa Edvardsen Haugan, President – Kongsberg Maritime

Our story began 50 years ago and we have always strived to produce the very best ships for our customers around the world. We have designed more than 1,000 ships so far as the market leader for technical innovation and design excellence. Our range is a timeline of true achievement. We’re proud of our past and excited about our future –  a future that will focus on sustainability and protecting our oceans. The best is yet to come.